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Nursing

 

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

"Listening is a huge part of nursing. In my clinicals, I've learned by example from other nurses-they're great about asking for help, communicating with other members of the health care team and assisting me with hands on experiences and skills."

How to succeed

"My clinical instructors are down to earth and willing to show you anything. You can tell they're passionate about teaching. They challenge us to think on our own, but they're still there to guide us."

Seeing her mother make a difference as an oncology nurse inspired Lisa Easton to follow in her footsteps. And because the field of nursing is so flexible, she knows her career possibilities are endless. "You can work in a variety of environments-hospitals, clinics and schools," she says. "You can go to grad school. You can be a traveling nurse who flies all over the country."

Lisa interned for 10 weeks in the intensive care unit facility at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where she lived with five other students from all over the country.

In her own words

Why St. Ambrose?

I like the small community full of friendly people. I've made great friends and study partners. And because there are no more than 30 students per class, my professors actually know us. They encourage us to stop by their offices if we need help, because they want us to succeed.

How did you land your summer internship?

In the past Ambrose has had a number of students intern at the Mayo Clinic. A couple of my professors recommended this Mayo internship, and my advisor wrote a good recommendation for me. I knew it would be a great experience.

I chose the intensive care unit because it's a challenging environment that keeps you on your toes. I like a constant challenge. The patient-to-nurse ratio in ICU is one or two patients per nurse, so we can give quality care with focused attention. I had the opportunity to observe many unique clinical situations.

I never thought I'd spend an entire summer in Minnesota. I like being close to home, which is part of why I chose Ambrose. I was surprised that I was interested and excited to be farther away and on my own. It's outside of my comfort zone. But after a great experience studying abroad as a part of an Ambrose class, I was ready.

What have you learned in your clinicals?

I've done two clinical rotations. First I worked on the surgical specialty floor at Genesis Medical Center. I worked under the supervision of a primary nurse and provided basic care. In the second rotation, I was assigned to one nurse and cared for all of her patients. Having her full load gave me great experience in time management and organization.

During my second rotation in the neurology unit I learned to look for subtle cues like changes in demeanor or attitude, and strength in one side versus the other. It's how we check our patients' neurological status. It was exciting to directly apply the lessons learned in the classroom out in the field.

What are your Ambrose faculty members like?

Every professor shares personal patient stories-good examples, bad examples, how to do a procedure, how not to do it, catching errors. Those stories are what really stick out when I'm studying. All of my teachers have spent time as nurses, which brings more depth to our class and clinical lab work.

Any memorable lessons from the classroom?

My pediatric professor illustrated how different it is to deal with children and their families. She shared how her hospital catered to kids who were staying for an extended period of time to keep their development levels as normal as possible. They'd clear out a playroom and have sleepovers to make the hospital environment less traumatic.

What do you do as a member of the Student Nursing Association?

We discuss health care issues. It's a particularly good way to keep updated on current events-things in health care evolve so often. In the fall we all go to the Iowa Association of Nursing Students Convention. Vendors come to show off new equipment, schools give presentations on grad programs and we learn about possible jobs.

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